Greens Marine and Fisheries spokesperson Justin Field is calling on the NSW Liberal/National Government to permanently halt seismic testing for gas in the waters off Newcastle by cancelling Asset Energy's exploration licence.
The National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority has ruled that new plans for seismic testing by Asset Energy did not meet environmental regulations and asked for a revised proposal. The proposal follows similar testing in 2010.
Mr Field said the idea that coastal waters off Newcastle and Sydney will be a future gas field is ridiculous.
"It's not worth risking the health of the marine environment, our valuable fisheries resources and those local jobs for oil and gas exploration where the community will never accept a future gas field," he said today.
"Seismic testing in the waters off Newcastle poses an unacceptable risk for ocean habitat, marine wildlife including migrating whales, and productive local fishing grounds.
"I'm told by fishers that previous seismic testing left seabeds damaged and resulted in drops in fish catch for weeks, impacting on local businesses. There are also serious questions about the safety of seismic guns on the hearing and navigation of migrating whales.
"Whales and their young will head back down the NSW coast from about September until November this year and they have a right to safe passage, not a seismic assault course.
"The community simply won't accept oil and gas exploration and drilling off the coast from Newcastle to Sydney. The NSW Government should put this matter to rest once and for all, cancel Advent Energy's exploration licence and ensure the seismic testing doesn't go ahead," Mr Field said.
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